Ted Lasso is not the type of show I thought I’d love, but it hooks you right away, and by episode three, you’re so deeply attached to the characters, there’s no way out. Ted Lasso is a series carried exceptionally through a meticulous balance between optimism and realism. It’s the kind of series that probably should fail in evoking such organic joy, but the polar opposite happens, which makes it an absolute delight to watch. The last time a character this optimistic and genuinely positive felt real was in Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope, and Jason Sudeikis’ Ted Lasso feels incredibly real. The kind of person we could all use in our lives in a year like 2020.
To begin, I don’t know anything about football (soccer). You’d think someone whose ex played professionally would know more, but nope—all the rules and regulations? I’m Ted Lasso; I just don’t get it. Seriously someone explain it. But that’s the beauty of this show, and it’s oddly why it works so well. You don’t have to understand something to care about and love it. You have to be open to the idea of nurturing and protecting it.
Ted alone is an absolute treasure—Sudeikis brings such palpable tenderness and sincerity to a character who’s already so kind it makes every scene he’s in a raw showcase of what humanity should look like. Ted’s journey is an excellent display of what happens when people fall and how they mask their pain by helping others. It’s a series that follows a man who’s genuinely trying to do good and a man who’s genuinely so deeply loving it’s refreshing.
This is a series that doesn’t sugarcoat anything or wrap up real human emotions in a neat little bubble, but instead, it’s a series that tackles issues head-on with a sense of warmth that allows the audience to feel every beat of what’s happening. Ted Lasso is a masterpiece, and from episode seven to its season finale, you won’t want to take your eyes off the screen.
We could sing praises for hours on end about the incredible vulnerability on display in Season 1 Episode 7, “Make Rebecca Great Again.” The episode is a stunning display of what it means to have people in your corner who lend a hand without judgment, and it’s an accurate display of what panic attacks do to people. It’s an authentic display of friendships, cathartic karaoke nights, and the amount of bravery that vulnerability takes.
On Ted Lasso, women are so good to each other it’s brilliant. Hannah Waddingham’s Rebecca Welton and Juno Temple’s Keeley Jones seem as though they wouldn’t be good friends, but the progression of their relationship is a rare treat on a series about sports. The characters uplift and support one another—they support each other’s accomplishments and call out each other’s flaws in a way that works organically. It’s the kind of friendship where your heart grows about two sizes every time the two are on screen. It’s a series where women don’t want to tear each other down, but instead, they’ll make sure the other is always reaching her highest potential. It’s an absolute gem of a friendship, and we can’t wait to see how it progresses in Season 2.
While Ted Lasso features a heavily male-dominated cast, the females in the series are both unforgettable and unmatched. They are nuanced, and they are bosses. They are women who are both badass and sincere. They are women with fears, women with concerns, and women who know their value. They are women who get shit done, and they are women who struggle and cry.
For all my shippers out in the universe who love a good romantic relationship that’s carefully constructed and feels authentic, featuring one half who’s grumpy and another who’s the human embodiment of sunshine, Ted Lasso is also a show for you. Without spoiling too much because everyone deserves to go into this story with a few surprises, but Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) have such fantastic chemistry for two people who’d unlikely be a great match. (But that’s the best part of this trope isn’t it?) The development is well-paced, and the payoff is a gorgeous display of what happens when two people genuinely care about each other and make each other better. It’s an incredible showcase of what happens when people who are expected to be tough are given the space to be vulnerable. It’s about growth and a kind of sincerity that’s bound to evoke butterflies on more than one occasion.
Ted Lasso is a series full of screwed-up, deeply complex characters who are often just trying their best. It’s a series where even the presumed worst have demons within that are easy to empathize with, easy to understand, and reflective of reality. Bill Lawrence and Jason Sudeikis have created something so special with the series that it’s hard not to love it once you’re in. It’s hard not to want the absolute best for each character. It’s hard not to root for a fictional football team with every ounce of your being as if they’re your home team. In each episode, the details the series plays off frame character complexity and human relationships with a type of healing vulnerability. It’s a series where grown men are seen mouthing lyrics to Frozen’s “Let It Go.” It’s a series that seamlessly and tastefully throws out a big fat, excuse my French, fuck you to toxic masculinity, and in its decision to be as sincere it is, it succeeds exquisitely in being inimitable. It’s rare for a series to be this fantastic in its first season, and it’s especially rare for a comedy, where ones in the past don’t pick up momentum until later seasons.
At its core, Ted Lasso is a series about friendship, it’s a series about belief, and it’s a series about helping others achieve their goals. It’s a series where its characters are forced to own up to their shit, characters who are forced to better themselves, and characters who’ve got a long way to go. It’s a series that looks at belief with a comedic sincerity that allows it to feel inspirational. Friday Night Lights’ Coach Taylor gave the best locker room speeches, “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” is a motto even those who haven’t watched the series know of, and while Ted Lasso doesn’t replace Taylor or even try to, it succeeds in its own inimitable way in being evocative.
When Ted Lasso tells me to believe, I will. When Ted Lasso says to his team, “onward, forward,” that’s where they’re headed. It’s a series where you’ll somehow end up caring even if you don’t care about football. The first season is an absolute joy from start to finish because it’s hopeful even when it’s sad and dark. In a year like 2020, hope is all we could ask for, and Ted Lasso delivers effortlessly.
Have you watched Ted Lasso yet? What’s your favorite part of the series?